The High Court yesterday directed the lower courts concerned to finish the trial proceedings in all drug-related cases within six months of taking cognisance of charges.
As many as 155,866 such cases were pending with sessions judges' courts across the country till December 31 last year. The courts disposed of 8,977 drug-related cases last year, according to a Supreme Court study report published yesterday.
The HC observed that the trial proceedings in such cases remain unfinished for a long time even after taking cognisance of their charges by trial courts as the witnesses are not produced before the courts and their statements are not recorded on scheduled dates.
During hearing a bail petition in a drug-related case, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman yesterday said the trial courts' efforts were not evident for quick disposal of those cases.
Such a case could be disposed of in a single day if the judge, the investigation officer and the public prosecutor concerned sincerely dealt with it, the bench observed.
The HC judges asked the district deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to ensure that the investigation officers of these cases produce the witnesses before trial courts on scheduled dates for their quick disposals.
The trial courts have been asked to inform the government authorities concerned about the negligence of the investigation officers and the public prosecutors in producing the witnesses before the courts and dealing with the cases, if there was any.
The HC also ordered the trial courts to submit reports to the Supreme Court committee which was formed to monitor if the lower courts failed to finish the trial proceedings in the cases within six months of taking cognisance of charges.
The trial courts in their reports would explain the reasons for not disposing of the cases in six months, the HC judges said.
The HC bench asked the law secretary and the SC registrar general to communicate its directives to the lower courts, DCs and SPs across the country.
The bench came up with the directives while hearing a bail petition filed by Md Mizanur Rahman Baroi, an accused in a drug-related case filed in Madaripur.
Examining the petition, the judges noticed that the Madaripur court concerned had taken cognisance of the charges in 2016, but the trial proceedings in the case was not finished yet as the investigation officer failed to produce witnesses before the court.
The HC granted six-month bail to Mizanur. The accused from Tambulkana area under Faridpur's Kotwali Police Station is now behind bars.
Bashir Ahmed, sub-inspector of Rajoir Police Station, had filed the case against Mizanur on December 1, 2015 under the Narcotics Control Act, 1990.
Advocate Fazlur Rahman appeared for Mizanur while Deputy Attorney General Farhad Ahmed and Assistant Attorney General Md Yusuf Mahmud Morshed represented the government.